By TODD STACY and MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday halted President Joe Biden’s mandate that all workers employed by federal contractors receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The judge’s injunction puts the mandate on hold nationwide while the court adjudicates the constitutional questions involved. It is the third such ruling stalling Biden’s vaccine mandates in recent weeks, as both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s large employer mandate and the health care worker mandate have also been enjoined.
Judge R. Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia agreed with several states and the Associated Builders and Contractors that allowing the mandate to go forward would cause “irreparable injury” to workers who could lose their jobs if not vaccinated.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall touted the ruling as a victory for Alabama, which he represented as one of the states suing the Biden administration over the mandate.
“President Biden’s lawless and authoritarian vaccine mandate on federal contractors—just as with his vaccine mandates for private employers and healthcare workers—is a contemptible infringement upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers,” Marshall said in a statement. “The courts have rightfully responded in each case by blocking the enforcement of these mandates.”
The other states party to the lawsuit are Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.
The White House isn’t backing down despite the court’s ruling and is vowing to press forward legally.
“The Department of Justice will vigorously defend this in court,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in her daily briefing. “The reason we proposed these requirements is we know they work and we are confident in our ability to make them work legally across the country.”
The government’s ability to mandate vaccines has been one of the biggest political issues of late. In a recent special session, the Alabama Legislature passed laws making it easier for residents to opt-out of such mandates and ensure parental approval of any school-issued vaccines. Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Daphne, sponsored one of those bills and congratulated Marshall on Tuesday.
“President Biden‘s mandates, whether it be through OSHA or CMS or federal contracts, have always been a gross overreach,” Elliott said. “All branches of Alabama‘s government have successfully pushed back on these unconstitutional mandates to protect Alabamians’ freedom. Alabamians should not fear losing their jobs and employers should not fear losing their contracts over vaccination status.”